Used Car Suggestions

Updated on May 12, 2014
F.B. asks from Kew Gardens, NY
10 answers

Mamas & Papas-

Our 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo may be on its last legs, after 21 years of service. Time to get a new second hand car. Any favorites out there? I am thinking of an outback or a forester, hubs is keen on a wrangler. We live in NYC, we are a one car family. Hubs uses it daily for school runs and to commute to work. On the weekends we use it for a grocery shop, a trip to the zoo or acquarium. About 5x a year the roof rack or extra large trunk comes in very handy because of a ski trip, or because of some sort of furniture shop etc.

F. B.

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So What Happened?

For what it's worth, it's just the three of us, hubs, myself and DS (3 y.o.). No immediate plans to expand our family (so roomy, in terms of passanger capacity isn't a must).

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answers from Miami on

Dear F. B.,

When I got my last car, we were a family of three. Believe it or not, I got a Sienna mini-van - 7 seater. We got it because we like to road trip and wanted to be comfortable with a baby and related gear and wanted to be able to take it camping:) A few years later we had baby #2, and now they are older and like to take friends with us or carpool. I often have 4-5 kids with me and wish I had the 8 seater:) I can't imagine having a smaller vehicle until they go to college!

I used to live in DC so I understand being a one car family and wouldn't suggest a mini-van since it is easier to get into smaller spaces. Just keep in mind that only children really like to bring friends with them! So you probably want at least a 5 seater! Also, even though as they get older you don't need strollers and car seats you do need sports equipment!!!

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from New York on

I really miss my mazda minivan. We bought it new and had 200,000 miles on it when a bus ran a stop sign and totaled it. We never had problems with it - replaced brakes & tires and changed the oil basically. It drove like a car (built on a car chassie) and got good mileage. It was great for road trips (it's been all over the northeast) and I could buy a couch and use it to pick it up from the store. As our two kids got big and grew long legs we could remove the middle row of seats, they'd sit in the last row and feel like we had a stretch limo. There was a place for everything. It was indestructible - when the car was already 10 years old with 100K miles I was hit head-on by a landscaping tree chipper when the other guy's hitch broke - they didn't total it - they fixed the damn thing and it kept running like a top. A year later a deer ran out in front of me - any other car would have been totaled - not the Mazda. I had a cracked headlight lens and bumper. It took a 78 year old driving a city bus to total the car.

They don't make Mazda MPV's anymore - but you can still find them used. The way that car ran through my kid's childhood it didn't owe us a dime - we may have owed it a few dimes. ;o)

Good luck choosing and finding a car!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

My dad is a wrangler man, and that's what I learned to drive in. I love them, BUT they are really pricy to fix. Several times, my dad has found it cheaper to buy an extra (junk) jeep just for parts than to try to buy them from a dealer. He knows vehicles very well, does most of the minor work himself, and takes excellent care of them... And he still drops quite a bit of cash on them every few years.

Not sure if that is a factor for you, but it would personally lean toward one of the other options.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We bought a used Honda CRV about 6 or 7 years ago and it has been trouble-free. We love it! As for Outback or Forrester, our CRV replaced a Subaru Legacy wagon (which we bought new), that was enjoyable enough to drive but cost us a fair amount in repairs over the years. It wasn't nearly as reliable. But that was quite a few years ago and reliability may have improved. Perhaps Consumer Reports annual auto issue would give you a better take on more recent models.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I love my Honda Pilot. Also used to have a 4 Runner we had good luck with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I always go to They have lots of research info as well as a great search engine to narrow down your choices. We got a Highlander and it gets 23 mpg so I was really happy with that. 3 rows that converts to a roomy 2 row with captains seats all around. Looks like you got a great run out of that Grand Cherokee!!! Sheesh!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I would try to go a little bigger than a Wrangler. Would you be able to fit a stroller in the back if all three of you are in there? Unless he's thinking about the 4 door? We have a 2008 Jeep Liberty and I think that would be a great size for your family. We bought ours slightly used and it's still going strong at almost 200k miles.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I'm a Jeep girl, and love, love, love my 2007 Jeep Compass. It's small enough to get in and out of tight parking spots, good on gas, has a roof rack, and is just perfect for my family of 4. I particularly like my year as it has the round headlights which makes it look more classic- the newer models have the squared off ones. We bought ours the first year the model was out, and it has had hardly any recalls to date. It's a solid little cross-over.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Our mechanic has always advised us to get a vehicle that the company made a LOT of, so we have pretty much stuck with Voyagers over the years. The parts are cheap (something you have to consider in a used car) and the mileage is pretty good, not great, but around the 20/25 range, and the smaller you buy the better the mileage. Our "newest" one is a 2000 Chrysler Voyager, and the former owner used synthetic oil and wow! What a huge difference in the condition of the engine! It's a pretty expensive oil change, but well worth it (about $70). Having a van is really worth it for the kinds of things you will use it for.



answers from Chicago on

We bought a used honda minivan. I did recommend a Subaru forsester to a friend with an only. She loves it. My mom drives one, and she loves it too. It's probably what I'd get if I didn't need a minivan :-)

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